Plant of the Month: Mountain Sage
Mountain Sage (salvia regla) is aptly named since it is native to the rocky wooded slopes of the Chisos Mountains of Big Bend National Park. It has been called one of the most beautiful shrubs of the Chisos Mountains. The plant has tubular orange-red flowers in late summer and fall that are a favorite of migrating hummingbirds. It will grow to be 3’ – 6’ tall and has glossy, aromatic heart-shaped leaves that drop in the winter.
Although Mountain Sage is native to mountain habitats, it is adaptable to other sites. Plant it in a partly sunny, well drained location where it is protected from hot afternoon sun. It is insect and disease free, and once established it is drought tolerant. However, unlike many other sages, it is not very deer resistant and will need protection. It should be trimmed back in the winter to encourage bushy growth. A cultivar, ‘Mount Emory,’ was developed by Benny Simpson of the Texas A&M Research and Extension Service Center in Dallas. It is reportedly hardy to 10 degrees F.
Text by John Siemssen. Photos by John Siemssen and Campbell & Lynn Loughmiller, The Wildflower Center